I consider myself a pretty outgoing, adventurous guy but one thing that terrifies me is skydiving. I can easily climb to an 11,000 foot peak overlooking a vast blanket of mountains below me or scuba diving in an unknown world underneath the surface of the ocean. But skydiving just freaks me out! Putting your complete trust into the durability of your gear. And trusting your decision-making skills when you have mere seconds to make life or death decisions just rubs me the wrong way. Those are the controllable factors; now take into account the uncontrollable factors that could unexpectedly arise. Things like a bird collision or unexpected winds. Maybe it’s because the videos that seem to make their way to my desktop are usually horrific and problematic. Well this story just adds to the many reasons that keep me from skydiving.
Christopher Jones is a 22-year-old adventurer who had a passion for skydiving. There was an immediate concern with his ability to skydive as Christopher was diagnosed with epilepsy at a young age. He went to the doctor to see if skydiving was even a possibility. Doctors declared that he was fit to skydive since it had been well over 4 years since his last epileptic seizure.
After being cleared to jump, he and his skydiving instructor took to the skies for what would be a jump they would never forget. They prepped for exiting the plane thousands of feet above Pinjarra, Australia and everything was going smoothly. At about 9,000 feet things dramatically changed almost immediately. Chris positioned himself for a left hand turn when he became victim to his first seizure in over 4 years. He had no control over his body and was falling out of control toward the earth.
Chris’s instructor saw a problem and flew into action. He steered himself towards Chris and attempted to stabilize his fall. He missed at first and quickly corrected his flight path in order to intersect with Chris at the exact moment with the proper speed that was required for gaining control of the situation.
He quickly reached for the rip cord after grabbing a hold of Chris and pulled it quickly. Chris was having an uncontrollable seizure for about 30 seconds as he fell towards the earth. Once the ripcord was pulled, Chris’s canopy abruptly filled with air slowing his descent. When Chris reached about 3,000 feet he regained consciousness and safely floated to the ground. Chris’s parachute is equipped with a device that would have pulled his rip cord automatically if the altimeter reached a certain altitude. Jones’ instructor stated that he wanted to be sure that the situation was handled rather than rely on the device. “We don’t do it all day every day, but part of our training is to look after students.”
Take a look at the terrifying video below!
This is just one of the many reasons that I’m terrified just thinking about skydiving. Now I’ve never had a seizure before but 9,000 feet in the air is the absolute last place I would like to find out. If Christopher’s instructor wasn’t there, he would be completely relying on his automatic rip cord device to save him. While I’m no professional, I would hate to rely on just one fail safe to save my life. I admire his bravery to attempt to tackle something that someone with his medical condition should probably avoid and even though things didn’t go as planned, and he had a seizure while skydiving, he landed safely. That instructor deserves some recognition as well for his quick thinking and brave actions. He put himself in danger to help out one of his students which is nothing less than admirable.